Quality content is the number one factor influencing Google's indexing and crawling decisions, according to a recent podcast discussion.
Quality is a critical factor that influences almost every aspect of search, according to a recent discussion between John Mueller and Gary Illyes of Google's Search Relations team.
During the recent “Search Off the Record” podcast, the two delved into the role of quality in everything from crawling and indexing to classification.
While quality content doesn't guarantee high rankings, it can affect how Google interacts with a website.
Furthermore, the conversation dispelled common myths about SEO and clarified that affiliate sites can produce quality content.
Here are highlights from the latest episode of the podcast.
Quality affects all aspects of search and indexing
According to Illyes, quality is a significant factor in all search systems, influencing everything from sitemaps to ranking.
“Quality affects virtually everything search systems do,” explained Illyes, highlighting the breadth of quality’s role, from site maps to classification.
The conversation revealed that Google's crawl scheduler uses quality signals to prioritize URLs for crawling. If Google knows it has X URLs to crawl for a site, it tries to create an ordered list based on their predicted quality.
Additionally, quality is a significant factor when it comes to indexing decisions, explains Illyes:
“The most important thing is quality. It's always quality. And I think on the outside, people don't necessarily want to believe this, but quality is the biggest factor in most of the indexing and crawling decisions we make.”
The quality of a website can impact the crawling process, even for new sites. For example, if a new page is discovered through sitemaps, Google will look at the quality of the previously crawled homepage to decide whether to crawl the new page.
The role of quality in classification
While quality influences how Google crawls and indexes pages, it doesn't necessarily equate to higher rankings.
Illyes clarified that having high-quality content does not automatically guarantee a top spot in Google search results.
The variability of quality on a website
Illyes explained that quality can be specific to different parts of a website.
For example, if one part of a website consistently provides high quality content, may be treated differently than another party known for lower quality content.
On the other hand, if certain parts of a website consistently provide low-quality content, those areas may be crawled less frequently.
User-generated content (UGC) was cited as an example where quality can vary. If a pattern of low-quality content is detected in a section of UGC, it may influence Google's crawling behavior for that specific part of the site.
The ability to improve the quality of the site
Illyes assured listeners that they can improve the quality of their websites, even if they previously contained low-quality content. It encourages website owners to remove low-quality content to improve the rest of their website.
Removing low-quality content can increase Google's perception of your site, which can influence how Google crawls and indexes your remaining pages.
Clear up misconceptions about SEO
Illyes debunked some common misconceptions about SEO during the discussion.
Contrary to widespread belief, duplicate content is not always a problem and affiliate links are not a problem as long as the surrounding content is unique and valuable.
The same applies to translated content, although human review of machine translations is highly recommended.
Affiliate sites and quality
Regarding the websites affiliates, Illyes stressed that it's not just about the affiliate link. The quality of the content surrounding the product is equally important.
“If a product is reviewed, photographs are taken, and exclusive content is created, this counts as high-quality content.”
Improving overall website quality can positively influence how Google crawls, indexes, and perceives a website. When low-quality content is removed, the rest of the site can benefit.
While quality content alone does not guarantee high rankings, dedicating resources to producing valuable and unique content will likely improve a site's search position.
Source: Search Engine Journal